Who makes decisions at the La Jolla library? Apparently, you do!

By Ashley Mackin

When head librarian Catherine Greene says the La Jolla branch is the people’s library, she means it. Library patrons influence much about the books available, as well as the event programming, and one young patron will even act as a community liaison.

Ordering Books

When it comes to choosing new books, Greene said she welcomes suggestions. Using a grid created at the city level based on demographics, Greene adjusts the types of books that will come to the Riford library.

For example, she said she often requests more biographies and less computer books than what is proposed. She will also request specific titles and bestsellers if asked.

“The more people do that, the happier I am, because it’s good (to let me know),” she said. “I’ll order anything they ask for.”

La Jolla patrons seem to prefer bestsellers and literary fiction, she added. While the city supplies books about once a week, Green said the Riford is fortunate enough to receive about 100 book donations a day from patrons. She goes through each one and decides whether to keep it or pass it along to the City of San Diego.

Paying Fines

Overdue fees are one of the few things not influenced by patrons, they are set by the city, Greene explained. When a book is checked out, it can only remain out for so long before the city considers it lost.

San Diego Public Library Public Information Officer Marion Hubbard (as in Marion the Librarian) said, “Materials are considered lost after being overdue 118 days. The maximum fine is

$20. At 21 days and 42 days, e-mails are sent to patrons notifying them of items overdue. If a book is deemed lost, the $20 fine is removed, but the person needs to pay the cost of replacing the book, plus a $10 processing fee.”

The La Jolla branch purged its lost items list in 2003, and nothing has been considered lost since then.

For adult materials, the fee is 30 cents for each day overdue, with the exception of videos, which are $2 for each day overdue. For youth materials, the fee is 10 cents per day; $2 a day for videos.

Special Events

Patrons contribute to exhibits, performances and presentations through suggestions and volunteering.

“We get a fair number of people wanting to come in and do programming here because they feel what they have to offer is going to be appreciated by the people in this community,” Greene said.

The Friends of the La Jolla Library Board takes suggestions and decides on the programs and movies that frequently screen. Coming soon is the revamp of Mystery Science 3000, which will screen at 4 p.m. the second Wednesdays of the month.

Youth Liaison needed

For the past year, Girl Scout Maura Kanter served as the inaugural Youth Liaison between the Friends Board and local public schools. The position came about when Kanter approached Greene for ideas for her Gold Award project.

Kanter’s work was so well received, the Board decided to make it a formal position. Now that her term is up, the Friends are looking for a new youth liaison.

The job requires attendance at Friends Board meetings the third Wednesday of the month; the planning, preparing and promoting of school program partnerships; participation in committee work as needed; maintaining records of activities for monthly submission to librarians and board members.

Those interested in applying, can mail an academic resume (with skills and activities) to Catherine Greene, Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. La Jolla, CA 92037. No e-mail or phone submissions will be accepted.

Florence Riford Library Center

■ Hours:

• Monday, Thursday, Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Wednesday: 12:30-8 p.m.

• Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Sunday: 1-5 p.m.

■ Address: 7555 Draper Ave., La Jolla

■ Phone: (858) 552-1657

■ Website: